Eric Kindel is a designer, writer, editor, and Associate Professor in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading. Between 2007 and 2011 he served as Principal Investigator for the ‘Isotype revisited
’ project, working with Co-Investigator Prof. Sue Walker. Project outcomes included From hieroglyphics to Isotype
(2010), the exhibition ‘Isotype: international picture language’ (V&A, 2010–11), and Isotype: design and contexts, 1925–1971
(2013). His work on Future Books and Future
magazine extends research begun as part of ‘Isotype revisited’.
Monday 7 April: Information narratives
Future Books, Future magazine, and the graphic design of information, 1946–52: a case study
Future Books and Future
magazine, published between 1946 and early 1952, offer exceptional insight into graphic information design in the immediate postwar period, in support of British economic, social, and political reconstruction and revival. Produced by Adprint, the books and the magazine were the product of an impressive collection of editors, authors, and designers.
Outstanding in the presentation of Future
were charts of pictorial statistics, maps, diagrams, and other kinds of graphic information. This work was contributed by the Isotype Institute, under the direction of Otto Neurath and, later, Marie Neurath. From the outset, Otto Neurath had envisioned Future
as a 'symposium', where the presentation of information would stand on its own, equal in importance to other editorial matter and not merely an illustration of it. And indeed, Isotype contributions to Future
would represent its most varied work for a single project.
But this work would, in places, also deviate from the principles that had guided Isotype for more than 20 years, influenced, it seems, by the contributions of other designers, notably Abram Games, under the art editorship of F.H.K. Henrion. This (other) work, aptly described as information illustration, used full spectrum colour and a variety of spatial illusions, including perspective, features that Isotype normally eschewed.
This talk will offer a case study of the graphic design of information in Future Books and Future
magazine, citing influences, comparing design approaches, and assessing the relationship between editorial strategy and the graphic presentation of information, in this important post-war publication.